My three-year-old son, Bodhi, started preschool this week. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for me, as I think it commonly is for many moms. Typically, the emotions come from the anxiety around “separating” from one’s child. For me, however, something different has been going on.
Bodhi’s new schedule is quite different than what we have been used to, where I have been able to work four days a week. This past week, and for the upcoming week as the children transition, Bodhi is only in school for two hours. And guess who is there for one of those hours? Me.
This allows me exactly one hour to walk back home, transition to my work, prep for client sessions, respond to client emails, prep for interviews (like this one) and write (for example, this blog). And where is the breathing time for Mama?
Hard to find.
When we went to the parent orientation at our new preschool a week ago, they told us that for the first few weeks of school, it was going to feel like we had a new part-time job. Well, I get it now.
I adore the school. I adore the teachers. And Bodhi does too. When the school day is over, Bodhi does not want to leave. He is happy there. This is a good sign.
The rollercoaster of emotions for me has been mostly about recognizing that I’m getting initiated into motherhood at a whole other level. Becoming a Mom to a school child is the real thing. No dress rehearsals here. We are in this thing. Part-time job is right. Full-time job might be more accurate.
Now some of you moms reading this may be laughing by now, thinking: she hasn’t seen anything yet.
I recognize that. I am at the very beginning of the school-kid trajectory.
I am so proud of my son. He is ready for preschool. He is ready for all that they offer there – the learning, the friendships, the camaraderie, the discoveries, the ever-expanding offering of materials with which to create, build and explore.
Okay, maybe I feel some sadness and grieving around letting go of Bodhi’s “babyhood” and “toddlerhood.” I do. That’s natural.
My greater desire now though is to see him thrive, and at the same time, see myself thrive. I want us each to have our own life, while at the same time, have our life together. I think this is possible.
There is so much discussion today around whether women can “have-it-all,” and if we do “have-it-all,” how can we balance it?
In the past, that conversation felt more theoretical to me. Today, I feel I have been initiated into this discussion in real time.
Moms out there, what has been your experience with “having it all”? Do you think this is possible? Do you feel that you can thrive in your personal life and career, while at the same time giving your all to your children and helping them thrive? What have been your stumbling blocks? And what have you learned? Please share your comments and experiences below. I’d love to hear from you.
Tabby Biddle, M.S.Ed., is a women’s rights advocate, writer and leadership coach, specializing in helping women find their voice. She is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, Find Your Voice: A Woman’s Call to Action, now available in paperback. Get your copy here.